Knitting Tutorial

My socks

Friday, February 15, 2013Virginia Bilinski

As a special request from my Aunt Laurie (Hi Aunt Laurie!.. and maybe Nana too!) I'm going to talk a bit about my favourite sock construction methods. I like to knit my socks from the toe up with an afterthought heel. I'll go into a bit of detail about each of these methods as well as a few alternate methods below.
Lets get to it.

The Socks:

  • I wear a size 8.5 to a size 9 shoe. But my foot from heel to big toe is exactly 9".
  •  At the gauge I knit, I'm always knitting the 64 sts size 
  • I use  fingering weight yarn and size 2.5mm needles.
  •  I prefer to use double pointed needles but also sometimes use the Magic Loop method which uses one large circular.
For my 9" foot, the breakdown is like this: 2" for my heel and .5" of negative ease so it will stretch a bit and be snug on my foot. So 9"(my total foot) minus half an inch (for negative ease) is eight and a half inches. You take the 8.5" and subtract the 2" for the heel and you get 6.5" so that's how long your sock needs to be before you insert the contrasting colour.

Here's the pattern I use for the Afterthought Heel method. It describes how to make socks from the top-down with an afterthought heel construction method. But it's easily converted to a toe-up construction. I'll go into everything in a bit more detail below.

Toes

I like to cast on 16 total stitches with Judy's Magic Cast on. Here a Photo Tutorial and here's a video tutorial:
I like to use this method of cast on because it creates really even stitches and you really can't tell that anything was done differently. It's really quite seamless.

Ok, so I cast on 8sts onto each needle for a total of 16sts. I then follow this:
Round 1: Knit1, KFB (knit through front and back loop), knit until two stitches are remaining, KFB, Knit1. Do this two times, once on each needle for a total of 4sts increased.
Repeat round 1 seven more times for a total of 40 stitches (20 stitches on each needle)
Round 2: Knit
Repeat rounds 1 and 2 until there are a total of 64 stitches (32 on each needle)
*Feel free to divide the stitches evenly on three or four needles when it gets hard to work on two*

Inserting the contrasting yarn and finishing
You would insert the contrasting yarn, then continue knitting the leg of your sock, do your ribbing and cast off and then come back and knit the sock. Here's a really good tutorial from The KnitGirllls.
.


Top-Down
You could also knit afterthought heel socks from the top-down. You would cast on 64 stitches. Knit your leg following your pattern or in just plain stockinette stitch until it's as long as you want or the pattern calls for. Then insert the contrasting yarn and knit five and a half inches and then start your toe decreases and then kitchener your toe together.

Alternate Top-Down Heel
This is the only heel I can stand as of right now when I knit a top down sock. The instruction start with the heel flap and work into the turn. They are from Melissa Morgan-Oakes' Toe-up two-at-a-time socks.


Working the Heel Flaps:
Work the heel flaps on 32 stitches.
Row 1 (RS): *Slip 1 with yarn in back, knit 1. Rep from * to end of row.
Row 2 (WS): Slip first stitch as if to purl, then purl to end of row.
Repeat rows 1 and 2 until heel flap measures 2.25 inches. End having just worked a WS row.

Turning the Heel:Row 1 (RS): Knit across first 18 stitches. SSK, K1, turn.
Row 2 (WS): Slip 1, P5, P2tog, P1, turn.
Row 3: Slip 1, knit to one stitch before gap, SSK to close gap, K1, turn.
Row 4: Slip 1, purl to one stitch before gap, P2tog to close gap, P1, turn.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all stitches have been worked. Heel flap will now have 18 stitches remaining.
Knit across the heel sts of sock, placing a marker at the center of the heel flap. This will represent the new beginning of rounds.
You're ending with a WS row. 



I hope this helps. If you have any questions please post a comment or send me a message and I'll help clarify anything.



Happy Crafting,

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